While growing up in Palo Alto, I met a new classmate in 7th grade at Wilbur (1969?). I admired him from the first time I saw him while we were standing outside in formation during Physical Education class. We were all wearing Wilbur's red and white-striped shorts and a tee shirt, but Kip, a recent transfer, was wearing brown, alligator-type loafers instead of tennis shoes (back in “those days,” PA was not a “rich” community and many families struggled with finances and the fact was, finances kept Kip from having tennis shoes). I think that later that week, another student gave Kip his used, but in good shape, tennis shoes.
But, what happened was, a 9th-grader tried to make fun of him. He called everyone’s attention to Kip and his loafers and laughed at him. But, as opposed to making a big thing about it, Kip just simply said “Hey, F----you.”
As one might imagine, that took a little (wait, a lot of) guts – that is, a 7th-grader saying that to a 9th-grader?! In most cases, it meant that you pretty much quickly built, and nailed shut, your coffin.
Anyway, that’s how I met Kip and we’ve been lifelong friends since.
The other night, we were talking over the phone and he said he’d like to see a blog, or thread, where folks could apologize for some of the things they did as a kid. He told me that there were some things he’d like to apologize for but had no way of finding those individuals.
I can certainly think of some things I’m sorry for. Three incidents come to mind right away, and over the years, I tried to locate those individuals, but was not able to.
I wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone so I thought that I’d give just enough identification where hopefully that person(s) would know.
There may be some of you who like me, have tried to find and apologize to someone, but for various reasons have not been able to do so. I guess it doesn’t have to be something you did as a kid. And, ideally, an apology, in person, is the best route, but that is not always possible.
We all change, and hopefully for the better. Physiologically, there is not a single cell in your body that hasn’t been replaced hundreds, maybe thousands of time. We all change and from what I have noticed in my advanced age of 57 or 58, we tend to become nicer.
I don’t know how folks will take to this, but please feel free to use this. And, as mentioned, AN APOLOGY, IN PERSON, FROM THE HEART, is the best way to go, and if that can’t be accomplished, maybe this will help.
Both incidents involved a group of us. Individually, I think all of us were "nice people," respectful to others, but, when we got into a group, we’d act out and at times could be downright mean.
1) Date: 1968 or 1968 (approx) / Location: Hoover Park / Individual (1st 2 letters of first name: AN
It involved a small group of us. While no one was physically hurt, I’m sure that emotionally they were. I am very sorry for my part and want to say that I was wrong and I sincerely hope that if there are any emotional scars left over, that you are now healed. Please write me at email@example.com
2) Date: 1968 or 1968 (approx) / Location: Hoover Park / Individual (1st 2 letters of first name: JO
Again, it involved a small group of us, and in this case, we provoked another to try and fight someone else. Although no one was physically hurt, there was hair-pulling, bullying and besides my role as an instigator, I should have put a quick stop to it. I am very sorry. If you read this and believe it may be you, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Posted by Michele Dauber, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm
This is very brave and honest. And good for you for trying to make amends.
Posted by PaloAltoDad, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2013 at 9:34 am
These days, it seems that bullying is a hot topic. I think it is great that someone who admits to having bullied proclaims publicly that it was the wrong thing to do and they regret it. Whether now, 50 years ago or 300 years ago, kids usually think they know best what they should or shouldn't do and do not understand sometimes when elders give them advice. We tell them they shouldn't smoke, drink alcohol to excess, lie, use profanity, eat fatty food, or raise their voices unnecessarily. We adults know that these are bad things. Many of us learned from experience, making these mistakes ourselves and regretting it as we got older (and, hopefully, wiser). But do we, as adults, follow our own advice? Do we set the best example we can? Andy is setting a good example by apologizing. We should all work to set good examples. Only then should kids trust us to follow our advice.
Posted by hamlet, a resident of another community, on Mar 9, 2013 at 12:50 pm
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm
This is a good subject, I don't know how courageous it makes one, or what the appropriate or a useful response is for mistakes of "unconsciousness" that have been made in the past, but I do know a big problem is that "consciousness" is not being promoted or supported in an effective way.
We are better at training our citizens to kill with things like videogames that create an instinct to shoot for the head ... a way of killing that in my understanding was very difficult for the military to train soldiers to take, than we are in promoting civility and humanity.
Everyone makes mistakes, if we are lucky we do not do any serious lasting damage to others, but to think about it and bring it to mind as early as possible in an effective way seems to be an admirable goal.